Red Tower and Fishergate Tower will both be open between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September 2014.

This event, managed by The Friends of York Walls, is part of Heritage Open Days – organised by English Heritage so that people can visit places not normally open to the public.

When Red Tower was first opened by FoYW in January 2014, for the York Residents Weekend, a gecko was found lurking in the building. The gecko’s gone to a good home now, but visitors will be able to see inside this quaint little red brick building on Foss Islands Road, opposite Waitrose.

Built in 1492, it was the cause of a murder when city stonemasons became angry that the new tower was ordered in brick. At first the bricklayers were threatened and their tools stolen, but soon a bricklayer was found dead and a leading stone mason was charged with the crime.

Fishergate Postern Tower, at the end of Piccadilly, will also be open. There you can visit the upper floors, buy the new book “A Walking Guide to York’s City Walls”, and “Sponsor a Stone”

The Friends of York Walls are looking for volunteers to help show visitors around both Fishergate Tower and Red Tower. Anyone interested should contact:- info@yorkwalls.org or see the website at https://www.yorkwalls.org.uk/

For information about other buildings opening in York for the event go to the Heritage Open Days website:- http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/

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Students from Bootham School visited Fishergate Postern Tower on Tuesday 1st July to experience some surveying work on the interior of the tower. They measured and recorded some of the damaged stonework. It is hoped that their survey will then form a part of the Conservation Plan for the tower and could be used to assist in seeking grants from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exercise was led by Glen McGowan, Chair of The Friends of York Walls.

The Friends of York Walls are working towards the restoration of and regular re-opening of Fishergate Postern Tower. They are seeking to raise funds for this project with a “Sponsor a Stone” scheme, and other fundraising activities and grants. See – https://www.yorkwalls.org.uk/?page_id=272

FPT - Measuring Up

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York Curiouser 2014 has selected several locations around York’s City Walls for the location of new artwork.The event runs until to 7th July 2014 at various locations around York.

Curious, Curiouser and York Curiouser: the city in the light of contemporary art interventions – fleeting glimpses, tiny openings and snatched words. See the map and details at http://www.yorkcuriouser.com/map/

Locations Specific to York’s City Walls :-

At Fishergate Postern Tower (At the end of Piccadilly at Lead Mill Lane) Janet Hodgson has recreated ‘The Workshop of Historical Correction’ where, as Janet says, ‘the forgotten, out-of-date, wrong or missing, misguided histories from York’s past appear to be being stored and reworked ready to go on display once again.’ A newly commissioned film “The Postern” is shown on the top floor. FPT is open Wednesdays through to Sundays daily 10 – 4 from 14th June to 7th July. CLOSED on Mondays & Tuesdays.

At Red Tower (On Foss Islands Road) Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer say it is hard to imagine that there was once marsh land on that site and later a pond, except for the fact that the lower part of the building is now well below ground. They have recreated the lake or marsh land within the tower interior using mirrors, lights and water, plus planting. This landscape is viewed through a purpose made slot across the doorway. “Open” every day.

At St Antony’s Gardens (Yorks hidden gem behind the Quilt Museum, Peasholm Green) Sally Greaves-Lord, a textile designer, has produced a new series of artwork for York Curiouser which is sited in the recesses of the historic city walls near the Quilt Museum. Sally says, “I have been inspired by the Mediaeval Guilds in my banners. I was looking broadly at imagery, shapes and the composition of the guild banners. It is really interesting that St Anthony’s Hall was the hall used by, ‘Guilds who had no hall of their own’” Open when gardens are open.

At locations including Museum Gardens, The City Walls, Treasurers House & St Antony’s Gardens Karen Thompson, a ceramicist based in Scarborough, has placed artwork in the form of a multiple porcelain sandwich for York Curiouser. Rest a while, here and there, consume, devour, the convenient and cheap transformed into something of prestige. Ancient associations coming together with a contemporary twist.’ Open whenever locations are open.

Don’t miss the other York Curiouser Artwork locations including :-

John Wedgwood Clarke – Kings Manor and numerous snickleways around the city
Susanne Davies – Merchant Adventurers’ Hall garden
Matt Hawthorn – along the river Foss (June 28th ONLY Foss Island Road to The Blue Bridge)
Damian Murphy with John Wedgwood Clarke – Courtyard, Kings Manor
Jacques Nimki – National Centre for Early Music, around the churchyard

See http://www.yorkcuriouser.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/yorkcuriouser
Flickr group photos at https://www.flickr.com/groups/yorkcuriouser2014/

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Music and Dance returns to Fishergate Postern Tower.

As part of the forthcoming York Curiouser event, to be held at various locations around York from 14th June to 7th July 2014, music and dance has returned to Fishergate Postern Tower, Piccadilly, York – for only the second time in probably almost 200 years.

In 1818 William Hargrove says, he had an old manuscript presented to his father, that indicates that concerts of music and dancing used formally to be in Fishergate Postern, and there have been music galleries in the upper room. In the Georgian period the upper floors, along with a music gallery, was a place where dancing and singing provided entertainment -although as the rooms are rather small, Hargrove suggests that they were for “Private Assemblies”. (Ref: “History and Description of the Ancient City of York”, Volume II. p23-25. Alexander)

In January 2014 the Ebor Morris Men performed in the tower and now Janet Hodgson, one of the York Curiouser Artists, is bringing music and dance back to the tower again. Janet has shown her work both nationally and internationally, including at Tate Liverpool and the Serpentine, London. She is concerned with constructs of time and place. Her work is multi-disciplinary and often collaborative. She uses the site and its history as the starting point for creating new work.

Just as archaeologists dig the earth Janet digs up figures and histories associated with the site, bringing to life ghosts from the past. She makes costume dramas to help us resolve or find a different way to use the past to inhabit the present and locating fragments of alternative models of memory and power relations for the future.

Janet’s Institute Of Historical Correction, and renowned choreographer Lea Anderson are making a new a costume drama – “The Postern” on location in Fishergate Postern Tower. This is a newly commissioned artwork as part of York Curiouser and has been filmed on site and will be shown in the tower during the York Curiouser event.

“The Postern” is a film of a Georgian Dance Lesson with a difference, here the students learn a new quadrille specially composed for this occasion. Their instructor will be Mary Wigman (1886 – 1973) who choreographed the dance routines for Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich; she will lead them through a new quadrille revived especially for this occasion. The dancers will work hard to achieve the perfection she requires. A choirboy will provide the music for the quadrille. He will sing a Dada composition with a libretto with words taken from Drakes Eboracum. More pictures at here.  The videocan be viewed HERE  or downloaded HERE

York Curiouser runs from 14th June to 7th July 2014 at various locations around York including Fishergate Postern Tower, Red Tower, Quilt Museum St. Anthony’s Garden, The National Centre for Early Music, Kings Manor, York’s Snickleways, River Foss, etc..

The Friends of York Walls open the tower at selected times during the year – see https://yorkwalls.org.uk/ for details. The Friends are pleased to be associated with York Curiouser 2014 and to support the use of “The Walls & Towers” for public enjoyment.
Fishergate Tower will be open on Saturdays/Sundays/Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays from 14th June to 7th July 2014.

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